Louise Françoise Le Blanc de La Vallière is a self-absorbed mage in a world of wands, cloaks, and royalty. Although she studies at Tristain Academy, a prestigious school for magicians, she has a major problem: Louise is unable to cast magic properly, earning her the nickname of "Louise the Zero" from her classmates.
When the first year students are required to perform a summoning ritual, Louise's summoning results in a catastrophic explosion! Everyone deems this to be yet another failure, but when the smoke clears, a boy named Saito Hiraga appears. Now Louise's familiar, Saito is treated as a slave, forced to clean her clothes and eat off the ground. But when an unfamiliar brand is found etched on Saito's hand from the summoning ritual, it is believed to be the mark of a powerful familiar named Gandalfr.
Wild, adventurous, and explosive, Zero no Tsukaima follows Saito as he comes to terms with his new life and as Louise proves that there is more to her than her nickname suggests.
I decided to watch Zero no Tsukaima because I wanted a leave-your-brain-out-of-the-equation sort of show, one I could sit back and watch without worrying about a negative outcome or depressing and/or disturbing complications. (Yes, for all my talk about artistic integrity and such, I do watch things for pure and simple fun sometimes.) Zero has most of that, but only to a point, and in the end I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of depth this show manages to pull out of nowhere. I went in expecting another Nanoha, or the first season of Shakugan no Shana all over again, and what I got
was something more akin to the comedic romance and character development of Love Hina supported and sustained by the political intrigue of Last Exile or Simoun.
Plot: An incompetent mage summons as her familiar a young man from contemporary Japan, and hilarity ensues. It isn't quite as simple as that, however. Despite an early focus on slapstick comedy, ecchi, and outright silliness, Zero quickly introduces a thin political thread, providing bits and pieces of flavor to make the world seem more alive. This thread smoothly escalates into a significant driving force of the show's events, perhaps more powerful, even, than the central romance.
And speaking of that central romance, it moves along at a nice pace -- neither too slowly nor too quickly for a 13-episode series. Exactly how it develops is for you to discover, but rest assured that it does not remain stagnant for long periods of time, at least in this season, as in Shakugan no Shana and its sequel.
Characters: The cute, borderline-sadist lead; the busty, libidinous rival; the surprisingly forthright maid; the bookish, quiet Nagato Yuki clone -- these may seem like stock characters pulled from the harem romance pool, and they certainly begin as such. As in Love Hina, however, we discover that these characters have histories and unforeseen connections, sometimes in far darker ways than I expected of this show. What's more, many of these characters actually change over time, as characters in a story should. Sure, the cast seems a bit crazy at first, but give them a chance. It's worth it.
And the male lead. Oh, the male lead. Saito's personality is what makes him simultaneously hilarious and divergent from the usual harem romance/datesim beta-male loser. We get the impression that he checks out every girl who crosses his path not because he's hopelessly desperate, but because he's a healthy teenage boy. Not that he's relegated to the role of lecher; he has his human and hero moments, too.
Setting: Our story begins in your average Harry Potter-inspired magic school, complete with magic wands and quirky professors, but soon expands outward to encompass an alternate-history, magically-endowed Europe plagued by the class politics of magocracy -- that is, magi over non-magi. Though the central country of the show is fictional (apparently located roughly in the Aquitaine region of France), several real-world European powers have fantastical equivalents, often bearing the Latin names of the modern countries they mirror: Gallia is France, for example, and Germania is Germany. This becomes clear when we see a map of the fictional land. This world maintains interesting links to our Earth, but I'll leave it at that for fear of dropping spoilers. It's ultimately a surprisingly cohesive fantasy setting, and one to which I wouldn't mind returning.
Art: Zero's art is reminiscent of Shakugan no Shana, also produced by J. C. Staff, and to a lesser extent Pani Poni Dash. It's a style that grew on me when I watched Shana. If you're a fan of more realistic art in your animation, however, be warned that you won't find it here.
Sound: Despite being largely digital, Zero's music never quite descends into full-on cheesiness, as Shana's music did at times, nor does it overwhelm you with anachronistic elements unsuited to the vaguely Renaissance-inspired fantasy setting. The opening theme is quite catchy, for a reason I can't place, and as a fan of Kugimiya Rie and Hino Satoshi, I have trouble finding serious fault in the voice-acting.
Verdict: I didn't think Zero no Tsukaima would end up being the kind of show I'd be quick to recommend, but, to my pleasant surprise, it did. If you're looking for a tale of politics and romantic comedy, and don't mind that the ride isn't entirely serious from beginning to end, give this one a shot.
Do you like Moe? Do you like S&M? Do you like obnoxious female leads? Boy do I have a series for you!
Familiar of Zero is an anime about an ordinary boy named Saito that is forced to be a magical slave to an obnoxious twat that summoned him from Japan to the far away land of extremely generic fantasy Europe. Here he must learn to adapt to his odd new life and learn about the various types of magic users. I am not going to go really in depth with the plot honestly. It soon becomes a very generic harem show and the
plot is NOT going to blow you away. Here is a summary of the plot: Louise the witch treats Saito like crap, the abuse is played up for cheap laughs, Saito uses his magic sword wielding ability to do something heroic, he still gets treated like crap. rinse and repeat.
The main male character Saito is exceedingly bland and Louise is the least likeable female lead I have seen in a long time! There are also plenty of supporting characters, but there really wasn't anyone I liked in this series. Usually I can find a couple characters I like in even the most mediocre anime, but here I got nothing.
The art is pretty good since this anime had a decent budget. It was based on a successful light novel that I can only assume was somehow better than the anime.
Enjoyment: 3/10 if you aren't a masochist, 7/10 if you are.
Remember in early 2014 when Japanese men were drooling over the uniformed hottie Natalia Poklanskaya and some Japanese youtube poster stated: "I want her to yell at me and step on me"? That is this entire fucking series in a nutshell. It is a fantasy for Japanese teen masochists who want to be dominated by hot European women. I'm not a masochist, and I don't see white girls as an exotic fetish, so I really didn't find anything to like in this series besides a few decent slapstick moments. The comedy sort of works in a few places, but mostly it is just obnoxious.
I have met people (including one of my best friends) that thought this series was a comedic masterpiece. I REALLY don't agree with that assessment, but the series at least does some things right. The art is decent, the music is decent, the voice acting is fine. However, I felt that overall this was a very mediocre series that I wouldn't recommend to anyone...unless once again you are in fact a male masochist.
Zero no Tsukaima-- The Familiar of Zero. With a badass name like that, what could go wrong? Awesome action with a really nice romance subplot, now that's what I like in anime. Which isn't what Zero no Tsukaima has. At. All.
To sum up the entire plot in Zero no Tsukaima in one sentence, it would be, "I feel like it'd be a lot better if I was nine." Me, personally, I'm an over analytical prick who over thinks every little thing. But I feel like someone with the IQ of a potato would still find the plot holes in this swiss cheese. To start
off, I'll list the pros. Just a little side note, I had to actually keep a notepad file open when watching this incase there was any little thing I liked in this show, because, believe me, I wanted to like it.
-The beginning of episode seven [Minor Spoiler: Saito is rewarded with a kiss from the princess and he does it too romantically and she passes out. Don't know why, I just thought it was funny.]
-The end of episode eleven [Major Spoiler: Not gonna say anything, but it was really satisfying after how bitchy Louise is to Saito.]
-The Ending Scene
That's it. I kept a f**king list open the entire time. Alright, well, not going to turn into a rant, but, the main problem with the plot is that it's super predictable. You see everything coming a mile away. It's really generic, as well. However, the biggest, worst by far, always-there problem is that everything is too rushed. Way, way too rushed.
Don't even get me started on the royalty free sound effects that were used in the final episode. The budget on this show was shit, to say the least, but the fact that they waited to spend the rest of their budget on the final episode, which was, as usual, too rushed and no build up. OP was decent. Yes, I do realize that being royalty free, they didn't cost money, and I made the point about the budget earlier, but I'll get more into it later.
Wow. I was just blown away by how generic and uninteresting every character was. The tsundere, Louise, isn't a tsundere. You see, with a tsundere character archtype, you have to have the character show affection towards another character after time. Does Zero no Tsukaima do this? *The rest of the character section is a spoiler* Yes, and it was very satisfying, to say the least. It was the filler episode, or at least I thought it was filler, episode six, or something like that. Louise drank a love potion by accident, and then grew really affectionate to our super generic and uninteresting protagonist, Saito. One of the characters who never appears after this episode said that it would last a year or so, so I thought it'd be until the end of the show, or at least the season. Needless to say, I was glad it happened. No more masochistic humor or fanservice (sometimes I'm not even sure), and finally a good female protagonist. Clingy, but cute. It all ends. And not on the final episode, the end of that episode, and very abruptly, I might add.
You know, for all the things this show completely and utterly fails at, there is a few good things. For example, if you were a masochist, the five would probably be higher. The very few, and I think there was about three total scenes of actual action in this entire season, were average. The budget was very lightly spent, and it was very clear to see that, and then the remaining budget at the end was spent entirely on the final episode, as I said above, which was cool, I guess. But it was cruel, too. Maybe the other episodes could have been good, like the royalty free sound effects in the opening of the final episode, but no. Not even close. The second thing I wanted to address in this is the transitions. That little wand that flips across the screen and that stupid royalty free sound effect plays. You'll hear it so many times. So many. The third thing is that the opening's lyrics make it seem like the show will be romance intensive, which isn't a bad thing by any means, but it's quite the opposite. It's probably, in order from most in the show to least in the show, unfunny generic comedy, decent action, masochistic fanservice, romance. It's just bad. At some places, it's so bad it's actually kinda good. But that's as far as it gets.
It was quite bad. Upon watching this, go in with low expectations and leave with lower ones. Seriously, it's bad. Just go watch something else. Anything else. Seriously. Please. I wish this show was good. I wish I wish I wish. But it's terrible. I'm actually sad to have had so high expectations for this show but instead was so drastically disappointed. Bottom line: This show is shit. Shit with a few sparkles, but none the less, shit.
Warning: Minor spoilers (that don't really ruin much at all), as you'll see the majority within the first two episodes.
This is a review for all four seasons, posted here to warn you of how much pain you might be coming across. I've watched some pretty bad anime but Zero no Tsukaima and its sequels are very high up. I was spurred to finish it by the suggestion of a friend saying it got better and because I can't stop what I've started. Note - This is my first review and my opinion, think of it as you will.
Over four seasons half the 50 or
so episodes could probably be considered fillers. The storyline itself jumps from one sudden and convenient issue to another with not much really linking it together. Zero's subplot of the apparent romance between the Mage and her familiar attempting to progress yet the situations they pop up in are beyond repetitive and dull.
Nothing amazing and nothing awful, nothing about the art really bothered me nor drew my fascination.
See the above
Here's the best bit. Within most anime that have two MC's, you'd hope to like at least 1 of them. Nope. As shown in the synopsis, Louise is a mate whose powers are lackluster. Her apparent talent that is picked up involves the overused "explosion" spell that is seen at a minimum of 3 times an episode. Her other talent is kicking the other Mc in the balls, as well as being an unsympathetic, trust/confidence lacking, angry, wannabe tsundere who never fails to be annoying. Saito, realistically, is just as bad, as someone who got transported from Earth to a different planet/universe, and immediately treated like shit (or a plebian) he, throughout most of the series, can be seen as someone without a backbone, who is probably a masochist considering he's so loyal and loving to a bitch that assaults him. Worse still, the 'assault' gag is so overused he just becomes a complete pushover whose only motive is to 'protect' someone who struggled to even comprehend his situation of being in a different world, and can't actually reciprocate his love 95% of the time. Funnily enough the best characters (with spines!!) were the supporting cast, Siesta, Jessica and Kirche, who actually had a personality and were enjoyable to watch. Later supporting characters are too, won't reveal names, but they somehow make you wish Saito picked a girl that, I don't know, actually and obviously likes/loves him. (P.s, this should have a harem tag instead of romance). All in all, don't get too attached to two boneheaded mc's, you'll be disappointed.
I did like some of it, mainly when the supporting characters were largely involved with pissing off Louise as a team, otherwise I struggled through this when I usually finish a season (12 eps) a night rather than taking me two, dreadful, weeks.
Please be careful watching this (though hopefully I've put you off), don't expect anything to get better, Saito will always get caught being with someone else and the most overused gag ever will waste your time.
The main character is surrounded by amorous women. But they are either oblivious, shy, or magically prevented from reciprocating their affection! The harem genre is everywhere - high school, horror, and science fiction all have examples. Here are 20 of the top harem anime on MAL!